Q: “I am having a problem with my car’s transmission. It is an automatic, but it won’t seem to go past second gear, it just revs and never shifts. What is going on?” Spinning My Wheels in Victoria, BC.
A: This is not unheard of, but it is not terribly common either. Even through it is a complicated issue, it is pretty easy to understand how it can happen. Modern vehicles have transmissions that are electronically activated for the different gear sets, meaning that the engine’s computer is taking all of the data it is receiving (like the throttle position, RPMs, etc) and making calculations about when it is best to shift. Since modern transmissions require electronic manipulation to do the hydraulic motion of gear shifting, if solenoids or wiring have failed somewhere along the line, the computer’s commands might not make it to the transmission. To complicate matters, some transmissions have their own computer, called a transmission control module, and it could be malfunctioining, which would cause a delayed, aborted, or harsh shift.
The only way to diagnose this problem is it to take it to your mechanic. This issue needs to be investigated using a scan tool, where we would interrogate the ECU or the transmission control module to get error codes that will tell us what precisely is causing the error. We can cross reference the codes with our manufacturer books to inform you of the exact nature of the problem, then we can point you towards the best course of action for repair. In general, these are not repairs we can do in house, but we have partner transmission specialists who we can send your vehicle to for an expert repair.
Are you having troubles with your automatic transmission not shifting? Send us a note or give us a call, we would be happy to help.